Banksy spy booth inspires Cheltenham Christmas beer

12 November, 2014

Street artist Bansky’s famous spy booth mural is the inspiration for a seasonal brew from Cheltenham independent Favourite Beers.

The artwork, which is in the shop’s hometown and features three shady agents snooping on a public pay phone, is currently boarded up after vandals damaged it.

But the team at Favourite Beers has produced artwork imagining what the spy mural might look like in the winter months if the wooden hoardings were removed.

The shady snoopers are wearing Santa hats as snow falls around the phone booth in the image, which adorns the new seasonal beer.

It is a 6% abv brew called GC-NOEL-Q and is described as “the ideal winter warmer”. The headquarters of GCHQ, the intelligence and security organisation that has been caught up in the Edward Snowden snooping affair, is based near the phone booth, which is why Banksy chose the location.

Leigh Norwood, owner of Favourite Beers, said: “It has all gone very quiet over the road with all the excitement about the Banksy earlier in the year just a distant memory.

“All we are left with now is a set of unsightly scaffolding and a lot of wooden hoardings, which are attracting their own graffiti.

“We thought that in the gloomy months it would be a bit of fun to re-imagine the mural with a seasonal theme and that Santa hats would be appropriate because we know that the staff at GCHQ make an annual run into Cheltenham for their charity fundraising Santa Bash – all decked out in Santa Suits.”  

He added: “The one question I get from a lot of my customers is ‘What is happening to the Banksy?’ All I can tell them is that a retrospective planning application for the mural is currently being considered by the council planning committee and although a decision should have been made by the end of October we have still not heard anything.”

Jon Kemp, from the Cotswold Lion Brewery, which produced the beer, said: “Last year, some pub landlords told us that our winter beer was too strong at 5.2% ABV.

“Our response was that a winter beer should be rich, sumptuous, warming and a meal in itself. So we didn't listen to their advice and have cranked the beer up to 6% abv, have added more dark malts and more hops to make it everything a winter beer should be.”

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